I landed at Jubilee on July 17, 2017, after a 3 ½ year drug-related prison sentence. I had opted into work release and culinary school through FareStart. Initially I thought I’d just go back to what I was doing before because it didn’t matter. I wasn’t really that interested in culinary school, but did the work. When it came time to find housing, I had nowhere to go since I’d had no contact with family for many years. One of the case workers from FareStart made a referral for an interview at Jubilee. He said he felt it would be the best place for me.
After a decade running from everything, I hadn’t had anywhere safe and stable to live for a while. At Jubilee I have the freedom to breathe and let everything hit me so I can work through it. I like having a care manager so I can get help with anything I need. The money management classes with matched savings and computer classes—especially Excel—have been really helpful. It can be stressful living with a ton of women, but even if I don’t talk to anyone for days, I like that they are around.
Well, it turned out that I liked the FareStart program more than I thought I would, and I like the culture in the kitchen. I got a job in June at Talullah’s here in the neighborhood, first as a brunch cook, then a prep cook, then I got promoted to lead line cook. The restaurant’s female business leaders advocate for women, and they encouraged me to keeping moving up in the culinary area. I fought for opportunities, recognition, and raises—and I got them.
What’s next for me is I want to keep working at the restaurant learning everything I can about management. I want to make enough to have a landing place, a stable home, where my 4-year-old daughter can be and my 18-year-old daughter can visit. I’m not interested in having things, I just want to be able to do things with them. I lost many years with my kids and hardly know my daughter who was born right before I went to prison. It’s a chance for a new start.